Interview: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
By Sean Booker
November 12, 2010 - 22:46
Earlier this week we got to sit down with Bryan Lee O’Malley, the creator of the beloved Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, and Ellen Wong, Canadian actress who starred as Knives Chau in the movie adaptation, to find out how their experience working on the film was and what they had gone through to get there.
Interview with Bryan Lee O'Malley
BOOKER: What was the main inspiration for the story? And what did you want your audience to take away from it?
O’MALLEY: I guess I was just trying to make something that reflected my own life in my early 20’s but also reflected the video games and movies and the comic books that I was obsessed with. It just turned into this action version of my own life, I guess.
BOOKER: Did you ever think your books would blow up like they did? Even halfway through writing them?
O’MALLEY: Uh, about half way through I felt relatively confident that they were doing okay but ya, the first book didn’t sell so well. But by the time the second and third one, ya, I felt like it was kinda rolling.
BOOKER: Are you happy with how the movie turned out? Do you feel it captured the feel of the books well enough?
O’MALLEY: Ya, ya, I totally do. From the beginning I knew it was Edgar Wright and I knew I was in pretty good hands. He had just come off Shaun of the Dead when we started talking. He was a younger creator too so we had become friends over the past five or six years and I’ve always felt like he was going to do it justice. And he did.
BOOKER: Speaking of Edgar Wright, did you have any say over who the director was?
O’MALLEY: Uh, I’m sure I could have said no to Edgar Wright but you know, he came to me really early in the process of the book and I really liked Shaun of the Dead, and I really liked Spaced and I thought we could just talk about this and could work on this and you know, I was never sure if it could actually get made but, fortunately, over the years it did happen.
BOOKER: Are there any parts from the book you were sad to see didn't make it to the film?
O’MALLEY: I don’t know. I felt like it is what it is what it is and the movie has to be condensed to some degree and I never felt like there was anything I would have fought about to get in that isn’t in there already. So I guess no.
BOOKER: What was the first point where you got to see the movie with a big audience and how would you describe your first time seeing the film with that full crowd?
O’MALLEY: The first time was at Comic Con, San Diego and that was probably the ideal way to see it. Like, I could have gone to some preview screenings and stuff but I knew I wanted to wait and see it with that like real, you know, kind of like that home town audience. Home town of comics town. So, it was incredible. We all kind of felt like rock starts that night and you know, I saw it with the cast and we were all very happy and the crowd, the crowd was crazy. It was like a world cup game or something like that, you know it was like a U2 concert
BOOKER: A lot of people are already describing this movie as something of a cult classic. Do you have any opinion on that kind of title given to it?
O’MALLEY: Haha, I wouldn’t call it a classic since it only came out three months ago but I do think that it is going to have its own life because it is something that inspires this kind of fierce identification in the fans and the comics a bit in the same way. But the movie is definitely going to have its own crazy life beyond the theatrical release and the box office and that kind of stuff. I think people will be watching it on DVD and Blu-ray a lot and I think there’s going to be a lot of midnight screens going on all over the place
BOOKER: One thing I appreciated about the film was how Canadian it was. Was it nice getting to work at home in Toronto on a big budget film like this?
O’MALLEY: Ya, except I don’t actually live in Toronto, I mean, I moved away from Toronto at the time. I mean the truth is movie sets are actually really boring so it’s like, aside from hanging out with the cast and stuff – you know, we all became friends. They’re all cool people, and that was a lot of fun. But the fact was that I was also working on the book at the same time so I kinda was just flying back and forth a lot. I was trying to stay at home and work hard but I just kept getting distracted and being like ‘oh they’re shooting the movie and I want to go visit.’ So it was kind of hard.
BOOKER: If you weren’t making comics at the moment, where would you see yourself?
O’MALLEY: I don’t know, it was kind of like this is my calling or vocation like it’s really the only thing I ever kind of stuck with in my life. I feel like that if I was I would be working in a library and I would be really boring and bored.
BOOKER: Is there anything you can say about future plans at the moment?
O’MALLEY: Nothing too specific, I mean, I’ve got plenty of ideas and I’m going to do more comics and we’ll see what happens with that.
Interview with Ellen Wong
BOOKER: Before auditioning for Knives, had you ever read or head of Scott Pilgrim?
WONG: No, the very first time I heard about Scott Pilgrim was when my agent sent me the lines that I needed to do for the audition and that’s when I kind of went and got all the books and read about it and got really hooked and really felt that connection with the character and tried to fight and fought really hard to try and get the part.
BOOKER: What was the audition process like for you? Did you know pretty quickly that you had the part or was there a lot of suspense involved?
WONG: Oh, definitely a lot of suspense. I mean, I think I auditioned - I think it was like a six month process actually. I initially sent out a tape and then waited about a month and a half or so and then Edgar was in town and he wanted to see me and at that time I had no idea what was going on because over a month had gone by since I sent out this tape and hadn’t heard anything. So, when he was in Toronto I was really excited about seeing and meeting him and, you know, went in and read for him and I went back a few more times and we went through a few more scenes and I also went through a fight test that was part of the process too and this was probably three months in and they had already set up the stunt team so I had to meet with them and go over some fight choreography, you know, show them a few moves and then from there I flew to L.A. and had a screen test with Michael and then about a month or so later I found out that I got the part.
BOOKER: How did you find the jump from working in television to a major motion picture? Was it easy to adjust or quite different from anything you’d done before or expected?
WONG: Um, I wouldn’t say easy. I mean, everything has its own challenges and that’s what I really like about life, you always have all these challenges and you learn all the time, right? And that’s what I really enjoyed most about this film is that I actually learned a ton. Tons of things that I’m going to take on and, you know, use in other films and in life and I just felt really lucky to work with such an amazing cast, with Edgar and Bryan and Michael Bacall, all the producers. I have learned a ton about each and every one of them.
BOOKER: Were you happy with the results of your performance? Is there anything you would do differently if you were able to do it again?
WONG: Well I don’t know if every scene would have been exactly the same but I’m really happy with the way the film has sort of ended up and I just hope that everybody else, all the fans and everyone else watching feels the same way too.
BOOKER: Bryan mentioned that the first time you saw the movie with an audience was at San Diego. Were you nervous at all the first time you saw the film with a crowd?
WONG: Ya. I mean, we didn’t know what to expect and I think the result that came out of it - we just really didn’t expect that going into it and we were definitely extremely appreciative with all the support and that was very much something that we really appreciate
BOOKER: Any future projects coming forward that you can talk about right now?
WONG: Um, well I’m working on a couple things but nothing solidified right now. Just trying to figure out what the next thing I can feel excited about is.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 9, 2010.
Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12